Ten million households, or one in 12, are unbanked, reports the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in its National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, using 2011 data.

It's the second survey of its kind. The number of unbanked households increased since the FDIC’s first survey in 2009, growing 0.6 percentage points to 821,000.

Meanwhile, 20.1% of U.S. households are underbanked, meaning they have a checking and/or savings account but have used non-bank money orders, non-bank check cashing services, remittances, payday loans, pawn shops and other non-traditional banking means. Almost a third of U.S. households, 29.3%, do not have a savings account, according to the report.

Timothy Flacke, executive director of the nonprofit Doorways to Dreams Fund, which makes financial products for low- and moderate-income consumers, told ABC News that the FDIC study highlights the fact that people who are "disconnected from the financial system are at a significant disadvantage in trying to save and build financial security."

He said the FDIC study also highlights the need for innovation to make sure more people are included in the financial system.

To that end, the Treasury Department recently decided to offer a public challenge, called MyMoneyAppUp, in partnership with the Doorways to Dreams Fund and the Center for Financial Services Information, aimed at encouraging new mobile technologies to build financial access. The challenge asked the public to submit ideas to help Americans “shape their financial futures” for cash prizes up to $10,000. Winners of the challenge will be announced Sept. 28.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry